Sunday, May 30, 2010


Alisson's restaurant was a great find in the heart of Dock Square in Kennebunkport. Opened in 1973, it has changed hands a few times but always remained a "locals" favorite. Visit their website at to see their menus and read their history. George and Barbara Bush are regulars. As their website says " Casual, Comfortable, Classic Favorite.
I have visited often and shared the experience with my sister and her husband and we all agreed they served the best lobster roll in New England. Their Reuben is fabulous too.
If you visit.....

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The Artichoke! Sometimes a very misunderstood vegetable. To some it is scary and they think what might happen to them if they eat the CHOKE...nothing!!!!! Others find them hard to handle for the pointy leaves.

I admit there is something to the cleaning and preparing of artichokes for cooking. But it really is quite simple. There is a place in Chicago that serves stuffed artichokes all smothered in cheeses, oils and wonderful herbs. So worth the effort to make these at home.


4 large artichokes
4 lemons
3 tbl panko breadcrumbs
3 tbl italian breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove minced
16 oz of Gruyere or Fontina cheese grated
2 tbl cream
2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
2 tbl fresh parsley chopped
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
3 tbl olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile trim the artichokes by cutting off the top inch. Cut the stem so the base is flat for baking. Remove a row of the bottom leaves. Put the artichokes in the boiling water. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the water and put the lemons in the water. Cook for 30 minutes. Drain the artichokes and cool.

In a bowl combine cheese, cream thyme, 1 tbl parsley, garlic and pepper. In another bowl combine both breadcrumbs and 1 tbl parsley.

Place the artichokes in a baking dish with a little olive oil in the bottom. Remove the center choke from the artichoke with a tablespoon. Stuff the cheese mixture into the center of the artichokes. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture between the leaves. Sprinkle the tops with olive oil. Bake until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown...about 25 minutes. Drizzle with a touch of good olive oil and serve warm.

My mouth is watering!!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Hummus comes in all shapes and sizes. Some spicy..some not so spicy. I think this is one dish you either love or hate. I love husband hates it. So the only way I usually get away with eating it is at a restaurant or making it for a party....of course along with dishes my husband DOES like.

Hummus is basically make of chickpeas and flavored from there. I use tahini which is a sesame seed paste and can be found in ethnic stores. So easy and can be made the day ahead and refrigerated.


2 cups chickpeas (canned and rinsed)
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbl chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
dash of red pepper flake
Fresh cracked pepper

Put chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add parsley, salt, red pepper and a few cranks of black pepper to taste. Process until smooth. If it seems too thick add a bit of water or white wine (who needs water!!!!)

Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate, but when you are serving it, get it to room temperature first.

Serve with toasted pita chips, fresh vegetables or crostini.


Ristorante Limoncello is located in Boston's famous North End...or as my NY BFF would say "The North Side". Only a block or two away from Paul Revere's house this perfect Italian restaurant offers both Northern and Southern Italian cuisine. It is family run and the service is impeccable. The food was wonderful and I recommend the stuffed artichoke appetizer it was to die for!!!
I had the pleasure of dining there last night with my husband and six of our good friends. So as they say "if you go there...go here"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As much as I like a good old fashioned baked potato...not so fond of mashed. The best I think are roasted new potatoes with lots of garlic and rosemary. This preparation is so easy and the days of potatoes served only with meat are long gone. I love these with a nice firm fish like swordfish or halibut. This recipe makes about 8 small servings so adjust the recipe if you need.


3 lbs small red potatoes quartered
5 tablespoons olive oil
7 cloves of garlic unpeeled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tbl white wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1-1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine 1-1/2 tbl olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tbl rosemary, garlic and potatoes in a roasting pan. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally during the process. Let them cool about 10 minutes.

Squeeze the garlic cloves to get out all the pulp. Discard the skins. Combine garlic pulp, remaining oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Add potatoes and toss.

Makes the perfect side dish.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


This recipe is for my brother-in-law Bob, who wanted something blogged from the LAND OF ITALY!... Having just been to a great Italian restaurant in Rosemont, IL last night, what is more Italian than veal. Make it Parmesan, Marsala, Piccata, Vesuvio....or here in a Veal Saltimbocca.
Saltimboccas can be prepared with bone-in meats or boneless. Bone-in meats will deliver more on flavor from the juices of the bone itself. Boneless is just easier to eat and can be fortified with a great sauce. Again, pasta or a nice roasted red potato on the side...delicious.
4 good size veal scallopini
4 large slices of prosciutto
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 large fresh sage leaves (2 chopped)
1/2 cup white wine
4 thin slices fontina or gruyere cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbl unsalted butter
Pound out veal until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a slice of prosciutto, sage leaf and fontina/gruyere cheese. Starting at one end, roll the veal tightly and secure with a toothpick. If you choose bone-in veal, make a thin slice horizontally all the way back to the bone. Stuff with the same ingredients as above and secure outside edge with a toothpick.
In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Gently place veal in the pan and saute on all sides. Veal cooks very fast so no more than a minute a side until cheese starts to melt. Remove from the pan and set aside while you make the sauce. If using bone-in, about 3-4 minutes a side.
Using the same pan add the white wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the juicy bits from the veal. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. When it reduces return veal to pan and add butter. Just heat the veal through and serve with chopped sage on top.
To make this a more southern Italian dish, you can add 1 small can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes and about 1/2 cup heavy cream.
This is a dish to impress!

Monday, May 24, 2010


I love rice in ANY fashion, but I love a good fried rice. As you know, you can substitute chicken, beef or shrimp or you could keep it pure vegetarian. I like to eat this as a meal in itself, but you can certainly serve it with your favorite Asian dish.
1-1/2 cups cooked diced pork medallions
2 cups cooked cooled rice
1/4 cup shallot diced
3 cloves garlic minced
3/4 cup carrot diced or shredded
1/4 cup peas
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup black bean sauce
4 tsp peanut oil
Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in a pan over medium heat. Scramble the eggs in the pan. When they are done cooking remove them and set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil in the pan. Add shallots, garlic, carrots and peas and cook about 2 minutes. Add the rice and pork and cook until warm through. Add the bean sauce to coat the rice. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the eggs just before serving.
Couldn't be easier! I wish I was eating this now!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Day off...closed a bar last night at my sister's birthday party...out on my deck soaking up some "D" with my wonderful husband and weirdo dog!!!!! Be back tomorrow with something scrumptious

sorry...just too tired......whatever you are doing

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Now I know what you are saying...pasta salads are a bit old news and overdone. But be honest you still love a good one. This is so easy a cave know the rest. Using a tortellini instead of pasta makes it much more of a meal. The array of colors in this dish make it so appealing to the eye you just have to try it. This makes about 6 quarts so adjust the ingredients to your size crowd.
3 lbs tortellini (your choice)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups tomatoes diced
3 cups broccoli (blanched and cooled)
1 small red onion diced
2 cups carrots diced (blanched)
2 yellow peppers diced
3 tbl fresh basil
1-1/2 cups bleu cheese crumbled
2 cups vinaigrette
Cook the tortellini according to package directions and let cool. When blanching the vegetables, don't overcook them. You want everything crunchy.
When the pasta, broccoli and carrots have cooled, mix all the ingredients together, refrigerate for about and hour and serve.

Friday, May 21, 2010


On a recent cocktail blog post, a friend asked about the Moscow Mule recipe.
Here's a bit of history about the Mule. This cocktail's popularity began the shift from gin, the favored "white" liquor to vodka around 1950.
In 1941 this cocktail was "invented" by John Martin, a liquor distributor and Jack Morgan who sold ginger beer. Jack was also the manager of the Cock 'n' Bull Tavern on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Now the New York Herald credits the cocktail's invention to New Yorkers...not a big surprise there!!!!!
Whoever gets the became more popular on the west coast and was the top drink by 1943.
Legend has it that the Moscow Mule was served in a copper mug as part of it's marketing campaign. Everyone wanted the Moscow Mule Mug so the shift began from gin to vodka.
In 2009, Smirnoff brought back the Moscow Mule in an ad campaign calling it the "Smirnoff Mule"!!
1 part (big part) good vodka
2 parts ginger beer
dash of lime juice
sprig of mint
wedge of lime
copper mug (optional)
Mix ingredients.........DRINK!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


We recently had dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant in town. They serve a small bowl of marinated olives upon your that!!!!...nice change of pace from a loaf of bread and butter...although my husband may differ from me...he is a bread fanatic.

Marinated olives are a great appetizer to serve at your next party. They can be served warm, room temperature or out of the refrigerator. They are a big hit!

Try substituting balsamic vinegar for the lemon in this recipe if you prefer. I am sure I don't have to say this but..make sure the olives are PITTED!!!! You do not want your guests fishing around their mouths for the olive pitts and then trying to find a good spot to discard them.


1/4 cup olive oil
1 small red onion diced
1/4 cup carrot cut into large coin shapes
5 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 cup green pepper diced
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 cup Spanish or green olive of choice
1/2 cup black olives
3-4 pepperoncini
1 tbl lemon zest
2 tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tbl fresh rosemary
1 tbl fresh basil
1/2 tsp cracked red pepper flakes
5-6 turns of a pepper mill

Heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, green pepper, lemon zest, rosemary, red pepper flakes and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add olives, basil, lemon juice and pepperoncini. Cook another 10 minutes.

You can serve immediately or at room temperature. You can even refrigerate and let the flavors continue to meld together before serving.

Your friends will love this one!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I make a big batch of this robust Bolognese Sauce and serve some and freeze some in plastic containers to use on evenings when all I can muster to do is reheat this and boil some pasta. It is very hearty so very tasty with just pasta, it works perfectly as the sauce for a pizza and then you don't need to also add meat.
My family doesn't like to see a lot of chunks of vegetables in their sauces so I either spend more time dicing more finely or toss the vegetables in a food processor for a nice fine mince. Feel free to switch the ingredient amounts of the veal and beef to suit your budget.
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tbl unsalted butter
2 medium Vidalia onions finely diced
1 large carrot finely diced
4 stalks of celery finely diced
6 cloves garlic minced
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground sirloin
1/4 lb pancetta finely diced
1/2 cup whole milk
1 (28 oz) can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
Heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook until carrots are soft and onions translucent. Add the veal, pork, beef and pancetta and brown over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes. Add milk and simmer until most of the liquid is cooked out..about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer about 15 minutes. Add wine and broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer and cook for 2-2-1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I love the flavor of this bread. It is a great dish to give as a gift or to serve with tea. Somehow because it has zucchini I think it is good for you...there's plenty of sugar that should knock that thought out of my head....whatever!!!!...still love it!!!
1 cup canola oil
1 tbl unsalted butter
3-1/4 cups flour
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp chopped cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. In another bowl combine wet ingredients: oil, water, butter, eggs, zucchini, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix wet into dry ingredients then add nuts. Spray two loaf pans with a non-stick spray or grease with butter. Bake for an hour or until a knife goes through it cleanly. If you are making mini loaves, they would bake only about 45 minutes.
For best flavor wrap the bread when cool and let sit overnight.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Bernie wins!!!! Bernie Wins!!!!! Bernie Wins!!!! Bernie Wins!!!!! Bernie Wins!!!!!!

So here are the answers to yesterday's Wine Pop Quiz:

1) C
2) A
3) True
4) A
5) True
6) False
7) D
8) B
9) A
10) C

Bernie answered 7 questions correctly to win the quiz. Since I will be seeing you soon Bernie, I'll save the GRAND PRIZE until then!!!!!

Thanks to all who played the game! It was very funny!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


You might want to go grab a pen and paper to jot down your answers to the WINE POP QUIZ questions.....
(15 seconds later)
1 What is the ideal humidity for storing wine? a)0% b)30%-50% c)50%to 70%
2. What's the best temperature for storing wine? a) 55 degrees b) 68 degrees c) 42 degrees
3. True or False: Heat does more damage to wine than light as it ages?
4. Most white Burgundies are made with which white grape? a) chardonnay b) Sauvignon Blanc c) Muscadet
5. True or False: Bread and wine are both fermented with yeast?
6. True or False: Tannic wines are best with spicy foods like chilies?
7. What is an unexpectedly delicious pairing with fried chicken? a) champagne b) Rose c) Beaujolais d) all of the above
8. How many wineries are there in California as of 2009? a)677 b)3,047 c) 5,019
9. Which country drinks more wine by volume that the United States? a) Italy b) Spain c) China
10. Of the 103 Master Sommeliers in North America, how many are women? a) 3 b) 14 c) 53
Answers tomorrow...send the blog your answers

Saturday, May 15, 2010


It became fashionable years ago to start brining meats. It has also become popular to deep fry your Thanksgiving turkey or create a turducken...which is turkey breast, duck and chicken...

While I have never tried the "turducken" or the deep frying method, I am a huge fan of brining my turkeys, pork chops and even chicken breasts before cooking. The brining process infuses so much moisture into the meats you will never have a dry turkey, chicken or pork chop again. And frankly, I have had a lot of very dry pork chops and no longer.

I live in a cold winter climate so when I brine my Thanksgiving turkey I leave it in a bucket in the garage (making sure the temperature outside overnight is lower than 40 degrees). If not, it goes in the refrigerator.


2 gallons of cold water
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges halved
2 lemons halved
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary
10 cracks of your pepper mill
1 clean bucket

Mix all ingredients in a large non-reactive bucket or large plastic bag. Clean the turkey and remove the neck and giblet package. Rinse the turkey and soak in the brine for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

For a smaller meal like pork chops, adjust the measurements of ingredients to accommodate your portions.

When the brining is complete, rinse the meat off and pat dry and bake per your recipe. The meats are always juicier and full of flavor.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I remember hearing about this recipe the day I met my husband. He would start talking about this salad/nachos and his eyes would roll around and he would start salivating just thinking about eating this food. Funny thing is Dave really doesn't like much Mexican food. It took almost 13 years for me to meet Laura Pittman and taste her recipe at a big Simpson graduation party. The party was wild....but that's for another blog!!!! The salad was worth the wait and it is FABULOUS!


1-1/2 lbs ground sirloin
1 head iceburg lettuce chopped
3 tomatoes diced
1 medium onion diced
1 green pepper diced
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg taco mix
1 (16 oz) Russian salad dressing
1 bag regular Doritos

Brown the sirloin until well done and drain. Mix the beef with all the diced vegetables in a 13 X 9 pan. Make the packaged taco mix according to the package directions and mix with the beef and vegetable mixture. Pour the bottle of Russian dressing into the mixture and combine.

When you are ready to serve (the beef should still be warm) add Doritos so they stay crunchy and cheese. So good!

If you would like to share a recipe please email it to me at so we can all eat such great food.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I know this photo doesn't quite look like roast pork, but I wanted to share the irises my lovely daughter gave me for Mother's Day. I love irises, they are my favorite flower. I have so many planted in my gardens. So thank you very much Rachel!!!!
This recipe is the perfect dish to make on a Sunday afternoon when you want to make a delicious dinner that smells up the whole house. The flavors are wonderful and the cider gravy works so well with the pork. (oh and by the way Rachel loves hard cider from her days over in Scotland)
I serve this dish with some nice roasted red potatoes cooked with onions and garlic swimming in olive oil. A 13 x 9 pan of diced red potatoes takes about an hour to roast in the oven at about 375 degrees. I add a little sauteed asparagus with tomato that also works well with the cider gravy.
Many sides would work like au gratin potatoes, and any sauteed vegetable you like. Two 5 lb pork roasts will serve about 8 people but it is also great for two with a lot of pork left over for sandwiches, tacos, burritos, even a nice spicy chili.
2 (5lb) pork roasts bone-in
1/4 lb pancetta roughly chopped
2 stalks celery roughly chopped
1 medium onion preferably Vidalia roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic peeled
1-1/2 cups olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
3 cups water
1 (12 oz) bottle of hard cider
2 tbl cold butter
3 tbl flour
1 bay leaf
2 tbl sage roughly chopped
2 tbl thyme roughly chopped
whole peppercorns
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place pork roasts in a roasting pan ribs facing up. Put pancetta, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, white wine, water, chicken broth, bay leaf, butter and spices in the bottom of the pan around the roasts. Combine olive oil, sage and thyme and brush the roasts. Add salt and pepper to the pork. Roast for 2-1/2 hours until skin is crackled. Remove the roast to a cutting board and let it rest at least 15 minutes before carving. Strain the gravy removing all the vegetables, spices, bay leaf etc. Pour the gravy back into the pan and put it on the top of the stove over medium-high heat. Put flour in the gravy and stir until incorporated and light brown. Add hard cider and continue to stir. Add more chicken broth if you need more gravy. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Just delicious and the whole house smells divine!

Monday, May 10, 2010


So sorry fans that I have been away a few times. Mom had a knee replacement and we are caring for her and the internet has not always been available. This Marinara sauce is the best ever!!!!!

I have played around with it and this easy recipe is just wonderful. I make a big batch of this and freeze it in small containers for dinners for two. When chopping the vegetables you can keep them in big chunks as you will be pureeing it after they are cooked. I leave the sauce in the refrigerator overnight so plan ahead.


3 small onions roughly chopped
8 small carrots roughly chopped
6 stalks of celery roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
4 cans of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
3 bay leaves

In a large pan combine olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper, onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are just softening. Let the vegetables cool and move all the vegetables into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Return the vegetables to the pot. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and cook over medium heat for about an hour. Take out the bay leaves and discard. Refrigerate the sauce overnight.

In a food processor, pulse the sauce again and add parmesan cheese to taste and finish with salt and pepper to taste. I personally love parmesan cheese so I use at least 1/2 cup and maybe more, but add a little and see where you like the taste.

I serve this over pasta, dip mozzarella sticks in it, use it on pizza or calzones and in italian sausage and pepper sandwiches...ideas are endless!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Herbs de provence is a "must have" for any spice rack or pantry. Born in the south of France the combination of herbs is endless. Many markets and grocers sell a wide variation on the combinations of spices. For me, I love the combination of rosemary, basil, marjoram, thyme, savory and lavender. Some substitute, chervil, tarragon, mint and fennel for some of my favorites.

Herbs de provence infuses robust flavor to any meat, poultry or fish dish before or during cooking. Herbs de Provence is not a spice blend to add after the cooking process is done.

Mixed with olive oil it makes a perfect marinade for chicken, beef, fish, potatoes and turkey. It is also perfect on a pizza and kabobs before grilling.

Speaking of grilling, if you have a charcoal grill, sprinkling a pinch on the charcoal adds a smoky herb flavor to whatever you are grilling.
Many specialty food shops sell Herbs de Provence in terracotta jars that make a perfect gift for every cook...there is a BIG HINT in here for my family!!!!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Crab Cakes.....LOVE THEM! There are so many kinds out there. Many are way too "bready" for me. When you can't bite into a lump of crab...what's the point....might as well be bread cakes! There are two secrets to prefect crab cakes: one is to make sure if you are going to make them that you buy good lump crab whether from your fish monger or there are some very good canned brands but they should be found in the refrigerated fish area of the store. Secondly, the crab cakes must be refrigerated for a couple hours before frying to help remove some of the moisture so they don't fall apart in the skillet. This is the most important step.
They should be served with your favorite dipping sauce or any variety of vinegary slaw.
1-1/2 lbs good lump crab meat
3/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from fresh white bread)
3/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 small onion minced
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbl mayonnaise
2 large egg whites
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 cup fresh diced italian parsley or cilantro
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of dry mustard
dash of Worcestershire sauce
Old Bay seasoning
5-6 tbl olive oil
Mix bread and panko breadcrumbs in a blender until fine.
Pour 2 tbl olive oil in a saute pan and heat on medium. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5-7 minutes until onions are caramelized. Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Let cool for a few minutes. Add crab, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, egg whites, lime juice and parsley. (You can substitute cilantro for the parsley but I don't like cilantro). Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, mustard and Worcestershire. Shape the cakes into big patties and place on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Pour 3-4 tbl olive oil in a pan and heat until the oil is pretty hot. Add the crab cakes and cook until a crust forms on each side about 4 minutes a side. Carefully turn the crab cakes in the pan. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning and the lemon juice.
For presentation, serve on a platter with lemon slices and sprigs of parsley or cilantro whichever you used in the cakes. Serve with dipping sauce as in tartar sauce or similar or a great fresh slaw.
Very simple Very delicious


Sorry I was unable to dazzle your palate yesterday...I was away from the internet all day..can you imagine....I will be back later today with something scrumptious!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Well you can't enjoy Cinco de Mayo without a fabulous MARGARITA!!!! These are a bit strong but if you are going to have one shouldn't it be a GOOD ONE!. However, you can certainly adjust the recipe to lighten up on the alcohol. This makes about eight cocktails....around my friends and family it would make about FOUR....
To salt the glass or not salt the glass.....that is the question???? In this salt conscious environment I still go for the salted rim. Just wipe the rim of the glass with a cut lime and roll the glass in a plate of good sea salt...yum!!!
In a blender mix:
1-1/2 cups tequila
1 cup triple sec
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 cups sweet and sour mix
Pour into glasses filled with ice. Squeeze a quarter of a lime in each and DRINK UP!
Happy Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Let's see I LOVE family sometimes "likes" vegetables and many friends push them to the side of the know who you are!!!!!
This recipe combines the best part of healthy vegetables with the delicious tastes of pasta, cheese and marinara sauce. Try to make sure when chopping the vegetables that they are about the same size chunks. You can add or replace other vegetables with asparagus or squash or any other vegetables you like.
1 zucchini chopped
6 oz cremini mushrooms chopped
1 orange and red pepper chopped
1 8oz jar of artichokes drained and chopped
2 shallots diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
8 oz mozzarella or fontina or gruyere cheese grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2-3 cups marinara sauce
1 box penne pasta
2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl herbs de provence
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
2 tbl unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
To make clean up easier, line a baking sheet with tin foil. Pour 2 tbl olive oil on the bottom of a baking sheet. Add herbs de provence, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and mix. Add zucchini, mushroom, peppers, artichokes, shallot and garlic. Mix so all vegetables are covered with the oil and spices. Bake in the oven until roasted about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions, but only cook about 6 minutes so they are still firm, drain.
Turn oven down to 375 degrees
Mix vegetables with pasta and 1 cup marinara, your cheese of choice and 1/4 cup paremsan cheese. Pour mixture into a 13 x9 pan greased with 1 tbl of butter. Pour a 1/4 cup layer of remaining marinara sauce and parmesan over the top and cut up last tbl of butter into small pieces and spread on top of pasta.
Bake about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with the rest of the marinara sauce and extra parmesan cheese. The best recipe ever to hide those deliciously healthy vegetables.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Getting a good night's sleep is an important predictor of your overall health. Your metabolism runs much more efficiently when you get enough sleep...helping keep your weight in check.
So here are some "foody" tips for a better night's sleep!

1. Cut your eating about 3-4 hours before you go to sleep so you have a chance to digest the food before trying to fall asleep. Your last meal before bed should have less sugar and no caffeine.

2. Try eating foods high in tryptophan for your evening meal. Tryptophan is a sleep-inducing amino acid found in eggs, fish, soybeans, turkey, chicken, nuts and cheese. We all know how we feel sleepy after eating our turkey on Thanksgiving. Add some calcium to this meal as it helps your brain process tryptophan.

3. We all remember having some nice warm milk before bedtime when we were kids, but milk actually keeps you awake. Proteins in milk lowers your serotonin levels making it harder to fall asleep. Organic cherry juice actually increases serotonin levels helping you drift off.

4. You should stay away from chiles, cayenne pepper, too much garlic and other spices that can cause heartburn. They boost your metabolic rate which isn't exactly conducive to sleeping. Avoiding "gas-y" foods is best leave the beans, cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts for lunch.

If you are still having trouble try some of these remedies:

- Take a teaspoon of liquid calcium-magnesium about an hour before bed
- Herbal decaffeinated teas with chamomile can help
- Small amounts of melatonin will help but don't overdo your dose.


Sunday, May 2, 2010


This is the actual pizza we had for dinner on Friday. So pretty. While I would love to say I made the dough....there are just so many options to buy already made dough...I just don't bother. Many local pizza restaurants sell their dough very cheaply. A place down the street from me sells it for $2. The italian market nearby sells frozen rounds of pizza dough. For this I used a frozen roll of Rhodes Bake n' Serve White Bread. I just take a roll out in the morning and cover it in a bowl with Saran Wrap and leave it on the counter. Great idea before you leave for the office. If you need it to thaw faster, turn your oven to 200 degrees, cover the dough in a bowl and put it in the oven. After a few minutes turn the oven off but leave the dough in the oven. It will rise within hours.

When you are ready to make the pizza, roll the dough out thinly to the shape of your baking sheet or pizza stone. If you have a pizza stone, put it in a 450 degree oven and let it get good and hot. After about 10 minutes, carefully take the stone out of the oven and lay the dough over the top and pinch up the sides to form the pizza.

Spread a marinara or pizza sauce on the dough, add your meat and/or vegetables (I saute the vegetables I use before to make sure they are cooked and soft). Shake a little oregano, basil, pepper or red pepper flakes on top and finish with shredded mozzarella on top.

Crack an egg in a bowl and brush the sides of the dough with the egg wash to make sure the crust gets nice and golden.

I make my own marinara and store it in the freezer (I will blog that soon) or there are many good brands of marinara sauce available. This is a great last minute dish for a busy week and it requires so few ingredients.


Saturday, May 1, 2010


Happy Derby Day!
The key to a good Mint Julep is good bourbon and fresh mint. I am in on the mint...bourbon???? Frankly for me, if I need to sip a fancy beverage while wearing a big ol' hat...I'll put a cocktail umbrella in my Kendall Jackson...but for you diehard Mint Julep Derby fans here is the recipe.
First you need to make a simple syrup. So in a small saucepan heat 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring it to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and add about 10 mint leaves. Let that simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
In a glass add 1 tbl simple syrup and about 10 mint leaves. Crush the mint in the glass (picture the mojito bartender) then add a bunch of good bourbon and lots of crushed ice....garnish with a nice fresh mint leaf and SIP! I'm the one in the corner with the wine.
Have fun watching the race!!!!